Contractor: BP Pumped Unusual Chemicals Into Well Before Explosion

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July 20, 2010 6:14 am
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A contractor working on the Deepwater Horizon when it exploded testified yesterday that the day before the explosion, BP had pumped an unusual chemical mixture into the well — a mixture that later rained down on the rig like “snot.”

Leo Lindner, a drilling fluid specialist for M-I Swaco, told the panel investigating the causes of the explosion that BP decided to mix two chemicals the company had a surplus of — two chemicals that aren’t usually mixed — and pump them into the well to flush out the drilling mud.

“It’s not something we’ve ever done before,” he said.Lindner said BP wanted to use 400 barrels of the mixture, more than twice the amount of fluid usually used, because the company had hundreds of barrels of the chemicals and wanted to get rid of them.

From the Washington Post:

By first flushing it into the well, the company could take advantage of an exemption in an environmental law that otherwise would have prohibited it from discharging the hazardous waste into the Gulf of Mexico, Lindner said.

Lindner testified that he had concerns, even conducting his own impromptu experiment by mixing small amounts of the chemicals in the hours before the explosion.

He observed a dense grey liquid, similar to the fluid that rained down on the rig the next day — a fluid the rig engineer described as “snot.”

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